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Terrorist Fiske Jab: On "Destructo-Criticism"

A draft article due to appear in APS Observer caused widespread outrage this week. Susan Fiske, the former president of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), writes that bloggers and other online critics of psychology papers are running wild:
New media (e.g., blogs, twitter, Facebook posts) are encouraging uncurated, unfiltered trash-talk. In the most extreme examples, online vigilantes are attacking individuals, their research programs, and their careers. Self-appointed data pol

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MILA SCHON SS 1999 Milan 1 of 3 pret a porter woman by Fashion Channel

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PIERRE BALMAIN SS 2000 Paris 1 of 4 Pret a Porter by Fashion Channel

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Can a Smartphone App Help Save a Dying Language?

(This post originally appeared in the online anthropology magazine SAPIENS. Follow @SAPIENS_org on Twitter to discover more of their work.) 

Joshua Hinson’s first biological son was born in 2000. His son’s birth marked the start of the sixth generation that would grow up speaking English instead of Chickasaw, which was the primary language his ancestors had spoken for hundreds of years. Hinson was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Texas. Other than a small handful of words, he kn

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What Makes B2B Content Remarkable for Buyers?

It’s no secret. Everyone knows the biggest problem B2B content marketing faces today. Well, actually several give B2B marketers fits.

Which one am I talking about?

Making B2B content engage and actually drive more leads. How bleak does the situation look?

Not good. Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report surveyed 3,714 B2B marketers from around the globe. The report defines “effective” as “accomplishing your overall objectives.” CMI asked B2B marketers to rate themselves. Shockingly, just 30% of B2B marketers rate themselves as “effective”. And that was down 21.05% from 38% in 2014.

And Heinz Marketing quotes IDG Connect as saying “86% of buyers say content is neither useful, relevant, nor aligned with needs of people in the buying decision.” That makes B2B buyers information-rich and knowledge-poor.

The natural question to ask then becomes, “If marketers’ typical approach to B2B content doesn’t work, what does?”

I’ve been on a personal quest to find out over the past several months. Let me explain some of the top elements of lead-generating B2B content.

Show Your Buyer Why They Need to Change Their Behavior

CEB Group research published at Harvard Business Review shows exactly what buyers want. They feel they must learn something new about their business and have a compelling reason to change their present behavior.

This explains why you can craft useful, interesting, and in-depth information, yet still not generate the leads you want. You have to make more of the right content based on your knowledge of your buyer and their industry and problems.

SaleCycle actually had the stomach to admit on Econsultancy that 80% of its B2B content failed.

They were creating lots of content, but most of it wasn’t about topics that interested their prospects. Content that taught prospects facts, stats, and best practices about sales worked. Client stories worked too. However, their content about careers and company culture, though useful, absolutely bombed by comparison.

So, SaleCycle learned that lots of in-depth content doesn’t necessarily work. But they found what did through their analytics.

Include Emotion in Your B2B Content

You hear it all the time: B2B buyers are intelligent, sophisticated people. They only need the facts. True with some aspects of marketing (especially white papers).

But remember, they’re human beings and have emotions too.

What does research say about emotions in the B2B buying process? They play a far larger role than you think. Check it out:

B2B buyers make highly emotional decisions. (Image Source)

In fact, Kapost goes so far as to claim emotions matter more to buyers than logic and reason.

Are they completely outlandish in their claim?

Joint research among CEB Marketing Leadership Council, Motista, and Google also found:

“Not only did the B2B brands drive more emotional connections than B2C brands, but they weren’t even close. Of the hundreds of B2C brands that Motista has studied, most have emotional connections with between 10% and 40% of consumers. Meanwhile, of the nine B2B brands we studied, seven surpassed the 50% mark. On average, B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than consumers.”

Why would this be?

Think about it, well, logically. With many purchases, B2B buyers find themselves in an intensely emotional situation.

They spend a lot of money on their purchases. At least several other people get in on the decision, so they want to look good. Make a bad decision, and they’ll lose an abundance of credibility and respect, and possibly their job. They want to go with the safe option, the one practically guaranteed to give them good results.

Consumers, on the other hand, generally make small purchases that don’t put a big dent in their budget. If the purchase doesn’t work out, they get angry, and often can get their money back. A few family members might be upset too.

But, it’s just a little money. And they have plenty of competing choices to choose from. So for many consumer purchases, it’s not a big deal to make a bad decision.

Possibly the greatest example of emotional marketing in B2B is IBM’s famous slogan from the 1980s:

“No one ever got fired for buying IBM.”

Why did it work so well? With so much at stake for B2B buyers when buying computer hardware back then, they wanted to make a safe decision. No one wanted to lose their job, or a lot of respect, for going with an unknown competitor.

So, the slogan appealed powerfully to buyers’ desire for safety, security, and predictability. Like Apple today, IBM was the dominant tech company of the 1980s.

And of Course…B2B Buyers Use Logic Too

While buyers use more emotion in their decision than consumers, they also have to line up all the facts. But most B2B content doesn’t give them what they want in this respect either:

“66% of technology buyers feel that digital content needs to be more aligned with organizational objectives and relevant to the decision making process.” – IDG Connect survey

How do you do this? It’s a simple process, but it isn’t easy. Skilled marketers learn the questions B2B buyers ask throughout the sales cycle. They answer those questions with content.

Does that sound anything like what your sales team does? If they’re good at what they do, your sales team should already know these questions and answers. So, it’s just a matter of having a productive conversation with sales.

But, not all marketing and sales teams have positive relationships. If you don’t have access to this data, you have a number of tactics you can use to get it:

  • Ask sales if you can silently observe a few of their phone calls
  • Talk with customers you recently acquired because you know they love you now (you could offer a reward to the customer that’s chosen)
  • Check out B2B software review websites like G2 Crowd
  • Watch your competitors’ content, and especially the pieces that get the most social shares
  • Review your own analytics as you gather data, focusing in particular on how many buyers took your desired next step, which could be done easily with the Kissmetrics funnel report
  • Find and follow industry websites and thought leaders and watch the hot topics
  • Follow your buyers on Twitter and LinkedIn to see what they talk about
  • Do a Twitter advanced search using some of the keywords your buyer might use, and see what questions come up
  • Search and follow the most relevant topics to your buyer on Quora

In my opinion, talking to sales, listening to their conversations, or talking directly with customers gives you the fastest and most useful results. When that’s not possible, you’ll have to research multiple sources online and construct the sales cycle from scratch.

The Amount of Trust Buyers Give Your Content Depends on Its Source

How your buyer comes into contact with your content directly affects the amount of trust they give it. If they stumble across a blog post or get the exact same content from your sales team, they place a far different level of trust in it.

Look at how much buyers trust content, depending on the source it comes from:

trusted-information-sourcesB2B buyers still trust recommendations from their peers more than anything else. (Image Source)

So if you pay any attention, you probably hear non-stop about “influencer marketing.” According to these stats, since buyers trust peer, colleagues, and independent content most, influencer marketing is a worthwhile approach.

It’s not just another fad destined to go away. For what it’s worth, B2B buyers’ minds have worked this way for decades. Count on getting your content into their peers’ hands as a valuable marketing tactic for many years to come.

Buyers, Including Millennials, Want Their Content in a Certain Format

You may have heard about 2016 being “the year of video marketing.” Snapchat, Instagram, and even Pinterest also get touted as the next biggest channels for B2B marketers. Periscope even gets some attention.

The real question: should you even spend any of your time working on channel strategies?

According to research from The Economist, no. Both veteran and young professionals still prefer plain ol’ text:

professionals-prefer-text-articlesMost business professionals still prefer text content over any other format. (Image Source)

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any video in your B2B marketing strategy. I’m not saying that.

But, if you drive yourself mad because you don’t have a podcast, webinar, video, infographic or whatever, relax. B2B buyers don’t need anything fancy schmancy.

Just give them new and compelling information that gives them the business case for change.

Each Content Type Has an Ideal Place in Your Sales Cycle

You have such a massive mix of content to choose from. Blog posts, white papers, case studies, newsletters, videos, infographics…

What should you create, and where should you target it in the buy cycle? Eccolo Media surveyed B2B buyers firsthand to find out. And here’s what they found:

content-types-in-sales-cycleWhere the most common types of content work best in the sales cycle. (Image Source)

Basically, content works well before the sales cycle even begins, and best during the early and middle sales cycle.

To gather the data, Eccolo Media surveyed more than 100 B2B marketers. 33% were influencers while 67% were decision makers ranging in age from 20 to over 60, and holding positions from manager to vice president at all sizes of companies.

And they also give some interesting data you don’t see on the above chart: 80% of survey respondents thought it was “important” or “very important” to get content on an ongoing basis after their purchase.

Eccolo Media found B2B buyers want these types of content post-purchase:

  • 36% want “thought leadership” content
  • 30% would like technical support and updates
  • 25% love new product info
  • 9% find customer stories useful

Define What Content Marketing Success Looks Like

To find out what buyers want, you have to define what success means to you. Once you know that, then you can determine whether you’ve given buyers what they want (or not).

Now, all kinds of debate exists as to how you know you’ve succeeded. Some say MQLs. Others SQLs. Others look at follower counts, likes, and shares.

And then you even hear about brand new metrics like “return visitor rate (RVR).” Which should you trust?

I personally like two indicators:

  1. The number of buyers who take the next step (whatever that is) you ask for in your content gives you a good indicator of what you will see in your final conversion goal (MQLs, SQLs, sales, revenue)
  2. Looking at the correlation between increases in your key metrics and changes in your revenue or profit. For example, when you see an increase in prospects who try a demo following a white paper, you notice a jump in revenue too.

And I like these because it’s so difficult to get B2B buyers to take the “next step,” regardless of what that is. B2B marketing expert Ardath Albee looks at that action as a sign of commitment, which is hard to get from B2B buyers.

Address the Fear of Loss

Should you focus on benefits or fear?

Many B2B marketers today would say you should sell benefits. And it’s not wrong to sprinkle benefits throughout your content marketing.

However, if you want action, you should focus on avoiding pain. Legendary marketer Dan Kennedy says:

“When you understand that people are more likely to act to avoid pain than to get gain, you’ll understand how incredibly powerful this first formula is.”

With this quote, he speaks in relation to his PAS (problem-agitate-solve) marketing formula. If you click the link above, you can learn about the formula in great detail.

The gist is:

  1. Start your copy with the prospect’s problem
  2. Agitate the problem by describing all the emotions they feel
  3. Talk about the solution you have for them

You’ll see more action when you focus on fear of loss instead of only highlighting benefits in your copy and content.

Sales Should Actively Reach Out to Prospects with Case Studies

You’ve heard the stat: 60% – 70% of B2B content just sits around, collecting digital dust. How do you make a cohesive, usable system that produces qualified leads with that?

Well, you can start with case studies. Because out of all content types, 84% of 319 execs surveyed at companies with $1 billion or more in revenues say they would respond positively when vendors initially reach out with sales emails that include case studies (more than any other content type).

You can see the full data below:

exec-response-sales-outreach-content-typeWhat execs trust most when your sales team reaches out to them with content. (Image Source)

With case studies, the closer the focus customer’s success story matches your prospect’s situation, the higher the response rate.

Don’t have case studies matching the prospects you want to attract? Time to write some. Your sales team knows many customers that succeeded. Offer your sales team $1,000 for the customer that you end up profiling. You’ll get more suggestions than you need.

Now You Can Stop Wasting Your Time and Do More of What Works

Over the next few years, I think we’ll see more B2B content marketers finding success. Everyone rushed to join the craze so fast, thinking content would be a quick fix to all their marketing ailments.

But now, with reality becoming clear, many will have to evaluate what works, and what doesn’t. And with this research in hand, you can stop wasting time and money and beat your competitors to high-ROI prospects.

About the Author: Dan Stelter, “The B2B Lead Gen Guy,” crafts persuasive content that makes attracting qualified leads effortless for B2B service, software, and tech companies. Learn how you can avoid 7 humiliating B2B content mistakes that frustrate buyers when you download your free special report.

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FENDI Highlights Show Spring Summer 2017 Milan by Fashion Channel

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Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016

The ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016 is a two-day event, hosted by Arizona State University in partnership with SciStarter, designed to explore the crossroads of citizen science and the maker movement. The summit is scheduled for October 26 (evening), 27 & 28, 2016 in downtown Chandler, Arizona at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center.

Registration is now open with discounts before September 30.

Arizona State University is a thought leader in both the citizen science and maker mo

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Omni-Channel Marketing: A New Approach to Keyword Research

For many marketers, performing keyword research is a pretty standard procedure. What has primarily changed over time are the tools used to source key search queries and determine the quality and intent behind those keywords.

While the approach to research remains largely the same, the landscape in which consumers search and move toward a purchase has changed. The path from search to purchase is no longer as linear as it once was and consumers generally don’t follow clear paths anymore. Your approaches to keyword research and deployment of marketing content need to adjust for this omni-channel era.

In this article, I’ll define what this new path looks like, how you can adjust your strategy to be more visible to your ideal customers, and how targeted keyword research and optimization can lead to a dramatic improvement in engagement and retention.

What is Omni-Channel?

onmi-channel-graphicCustomers are now engaging brands across multiple channels at the same time. (Image Source)

Up to this point, there have been a few different channel strategies for businesses, mainly offline businesses, but they’re applicable to online retailers as well:

  1. Multi-Channel – This is a common channel strategy in which a business uses more than one form of media for advertising. For example: a car dealership may have a Facebook page and also send out direct mailers. Those are multiple media channels for outreach and engagement.
  2. Online to Offline – This channel strategy consists of online media outlets driving traffic specifically to an offline, brick and mortar business.
  3. Cross-Channel – This channel strategy involves an experience that starts in one channel and is then carried over into another. A few good examples of this would be locating a product in a print catalog and ordering it online, or searching for a restaurant online and clicking the phone number to call in an order that will be completed via carry-out.

So what about omni-channel? This strategy involves using multiple visible channels which support one another in a single merged experience with the customer or prospect. The lines between channels blur as the brand and the customer engage across multiple mediums.

For example: A customer pulls up your website to research an item while they’re in your brick and mortar store. They search for other information online, which leads them to a blog post you wrote to address a specific pain point. A rep emails the customer some info on the product and they later order the product on your website or through your Facebook store integration.

It’s important to understand the omni-channel approach because it has transformed the way customers shop nowadays. 75% of shoppers who find helpful information alongside local retail info are more likely to visit those businesses. Likewise, over 70% of smartphone users research while shopping to help them make more informed decisions.

Search Intent Across Multiple Channels

Search isn’t the same creature it used to be. Today, search overlaps a variety of other channels as the results fill up with social media pages, local listings, videos, images, location-specific data, and more.

While many marketers take a blanket approach to keyword research, many of those channels have their own search variations. Marketers mistakenly think the research they apply to search optimization also applies to social media and other channels.

The truth is that the user’s search experience varies greatly based on the platform and intent. Not only do you have behavioral differences across the channels (short queries on Twitter vs. multi-keyword queries on Facebook or YouTube), but there are also big differences in a standard search query vs. a conversational search in social media.

consumers-search-for-local-informationSearch habits change throughout the purchasing process. (Image Source)

When researching keywords for the optimization of those individual channels, it’s important to consider user intent for each channel, as well as the user’s position in the buying cycle and whether or not they’re searching for local information.

Keyword Research for Omni-Channel

When you’re conducting keyword research for organic search and content optimization, you’re typically trying to determine the search volume and relevancy of keywords. For paid advertising, you’ll also want to gauge how competitive a term is.

Conducting keyword research for social and other channels as part of an omni-channel strategy is a bit more involved. When I perform research for omni-channel efforts, I have a lot of points to look at including:

  • Popular and trending topics across various social channels
  • Search and query frequency on a given channel
  • The market interest for products and services
  • The demand for specific search queries or conversational searches
  • User intent; the “why” behind their searches
  • Specific points of engagement around important keywords

Here’s how you can perform this research on a few popular social channels:

Facebook Keyword Research

facebook-roasted-coffee-keyword-researchUse Facebook’s search function to research key phrases for your audience.

Consumers often turn to social channels like Facebook to see what other people are saying about a product, topic, trend, or brand. Keyword research on Facebook can provide a lot of insight when you’re mapping out your optimization and marketing strategy:

  • The frequency of public topics around a keyword
  • What kind of content is most-often shared and discussed
  • How discussions change based on location
  • How well the results align with the search intent
  • Trending topics and hashtags
  • Other keyword trends to expand your research

From an omni-channel perspective, think about how your potential customers might be using Facebook to find information about your brand and your products or services. Build your keyword list and start researching with the Facebook search function.

This will help you refine and locate more keywords, and from there, you can optimize your profile and plan the use of specific keywords within targeted public posts and content shares.

Twitter Keyword Research

twitter-advanced-search-screenshot-september-2016Twitter’s advanced search can show you the keywords your audience is using most frequently.

Keyword research on Twitter is similar to Facebook. I recommend using the Advanced Search feature.

This gives you more opportunities to narrow your targeting by date, location, and broad or exact match phrasing. The goal on Twitter is the same as on Facebook: you’re looking for topic and keyword frequency, post and discussion intent, trending and relevant hashtags, and any opportunities to expand keywords.

Considering the brevity of Twitter posts, you’re less likely to see long tail search phrases being used. Instead, your audience is more likely to use shorter, topical words to find discussions, brand names, and product names.

Like Facebook, this presents the opportunity to take the most relevant keywords you discover and work them into your posting strategy in order to get relevant content in front of the consumer.

YouTube Keyword Research

google-adwords-display-plannerCombine YouTube searches with the Display Planner tool to research popular search queries.

YouTube used to have its own keyword tool, but that was shuttered in 2015 as Google favored the use of Adwords Display Planner. This makes keyword research a little more complex for YouTube than other social channels, but it also provides a lot more data. If you use the AdWords Planner for any other type of keyword research, then you should be familiar with the process.

Log in to Google AdWords and select the Display Planner under “Tools.” From there, you can enter any search phrases you think your customers would be interested in and AdWords will display individual targeting ideas along with impressions and some basic demographics.

Enter the keywords you develop into YouTube’s search and examine the types of content that show up in the top results. You’ll be able to piece together opportunities to create new content for those search phrases as well as optimize any existing videos you have to improve their visibility with the new search phrases.

Just remember to make sure that you’re always matching the search intent of the user.

Omni-Channel Marketing Thrives on Content

buzzsumo-pro-content-researchBuzzSumo uncovers the most engaging content around a keyword or topic.

Omni-channel marketing doesn’t target customers who are set on a purchase and are ready to place their order or head into the store. This kind of keyword research and optimization is meant to attract and educate the customers who are actively engaging you through multiple channels and researching information to help them make a purchase decision.

For that reason, I always try to produce and position content that is most beneficial and relevant to the keywords I discovered during the research phase.

To ensure that I’m consistently providing the best content, one tool I like to use is BuzzSumo. While the research process is predominantly manual for digging into topics and discussions on social, BuzzSumo automates things as you search for content.

Plug in your keywords or relevant search queries, and BuzzSumo will display content to match – specifically the content that has received the most shares and engagement. You can use those results to craft your own content or curate those posts and share them publicly using targeted keywords across various channels.

This way, no matter where your prospective customers are in the sales funnel – either online or in your store – they’ll find your content and your high-value content shares, regardless of the channel in which they search.

Conclusion

Focused keyword research across multiple channels allows you to leverage public content to keep it in front of your audience, increasing the likelihood that they’ll find you when they research purchasing options.

More importantly, optimizing your content with keywords across multiple channels will capture the attention of the user. If a prospective customer finds your content through means other than search, then the relevant keywords will stand out and encourage them to start engaging you through multiple channels as they enter your funnel.

Keyword research isn’t just for organic search anymore. Use this information to improve your omni-channel visibility, attract new customers, and keep your current prospects engaged through to the conversion.

What’s your take on omni-channel marketing and the optimization of social channels? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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MAX MARA Full Show Spring Summer 2017 Milan by Fashion Channel

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Seth Rollins WWE Rumors: Bret Hart Clarifies Criticisms Of 'The Architect' [VIDEO]

Bret Hart has never been shy about putting Seth Rollins in a verbal Sharpshooter. The WWE Hall of Famer remains critical of ‘The Architect,’ but made it a point to clarify he has respect for him.

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